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“exhilarating...compulsively readable”
Publisher's Weekly

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Jhumpa Lahiri on Stealing and Writing

Jun 9

In the June 13/June 20 issue of The New Yorker, Jumpa Lahiri, a writer I adore, writes about this connection, which I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog and in The Steal.

“My love of writing led me to theft at an early age. The diamonds in the museum, what I schemed and broke the rules to obtain, were the blank notebooks in my teacher’s supply cabinet, stacked in neat rows, distributed for us to write out sentences or practice math. The notebooks were slim, stapled together, featurless, either light blue or a brownish-yellowish shade. The pages were lined, their dimensions neither too small nor too large. Wanting them for my stories, I worked up the nerve to request one or two from the tteacher. Then, on learning that the cabinet was not always locked or monitored, I began helping myself to a furtive supply.”

Then, later on in the essay, she writes of how she “walked into the creative-writing department seeking permission to sit in on a class.

It was audacious of me. The equivalent, nearly two decades later, of stealing notebooks from a teacher’s cabinet; of crossing a line.”

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